Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Videograph


At ten years of age
I was running the
streets of Delancy
and Rivington, a small
boy with lots of vitality
breathing in the smells
of the pushcarts on Orchard Street,
snatching apples from
merchants, thinking: 'they
can't catch me."
And whenever I had a nickel
I would walk over to Houston
Street, because that's
where the Videograph machine was,
by turning a crank on the
side, the figures inside would
move and come alive,
I would crank the machine, peering
into two lenses, laughing
with glee at a man named Ben
Turpin, whose eyes were crossed,
and Marie Dressler, a fat woman
with a big nose, as they hit each
other, and the faster I turned
the crank, the more they moved,
sometimes I got lucky, and
would turn the crank and see
Sheba, the dancing girl, clad
into a tantalizing costume, and
shaking every part of her body,
and smiling as if she enjoyed it,
and I would turn the crank
faster and faster, laughing at how
I could make her shake even more,
and was always sorry when I
had no more nickels.